Legal Separation

Legal Separation
Do you know what it takes to get divorced in South Carolina? Is there such thing as a legal separation? Watch this video then call our office for a consultation. Let us help your make good decisions for a better future.

Video Transcription

Speaker: Stephanie Brinkley

Hi, my name's Stephanie Brinkley, I'm the owner of Brinkley Law Firm in Charleston, South Carolina, where I am a fertility and family law attorney. Today, we're going to discuss what couples need to know about legal separation in South Carolina. Before we discuss legal separation in South Carolina, let's first discuss the grounds for divorce in our state. We have four grounds for divorce. They are adultery, habitual drunkenness, physical cruelty, and abandonment. Unfortunately, for many of my clients, mental cruelty and emotional distress are not grounds for divorce in South Carolina.

If you're considering dissolving your marriage and you don't meet the requirements for a fault-based divorce, you can pursue on South Carolina's version of a no-fault divorce, that is living separate and apart for one year. Living separate and apart means physically living away from each other. It does not mean living in the same home in separate bedrooms, someone living upstairs another person in the basement. It is truly living separate and apart. But what's most important about this no-fault ground is that it is not considered a legal separation where parties are free to date outside of the marriage and engage in romantic relationships.

If you decide to pursue divorce in South Carolina, and you must do it under the no-fault ground of living separate and apart for one year, all is not lost. Many of my clients come to me and ask, "What can I do in the meantime to address issues such as custody, visitation, assets, and debts?" This can easily be addressed by filing an action for separate maintenance and support. Separate maintenance and support will address temporary issues until the divorce can be finalized after one year. What kind of issues go into a separate maintenance and support order? You can address child custody and support. You can address alimony. You can make the decision, or the court will make the decision for you, who stays in the marital home, who's responsible for marital debt, and you can even have marital assets and debts divided. All of these issues can be resolved in the order of separate maintenance and support. And then, at the end of one year, all that's left for the court to address is the divorce itself.

If you're considering dissolving your marriage and you want to know what options are available to you, and you want to develop a strategy that's good for you and your children for a better future, please call us at the number below and we'd be happy to set up a consultation and discuss options for you moving forward.